Almost a year ago, COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, and, as lockdowns swept across the country, many companies quickly transitioned to remote work. Even now, many people are still working from home full-time and will continue to do so for at least the immediate future.
But, how well has the average American adapted to the work-from-home lifestyle? To find out, our sister site CommercialCafe surveyed 4,384 respondents to learn about their work setup, how happy they are with their current situation, and what they plan to upgrade in the future.
Working from Home – A Test of Adaptability
According to the report, around 36% of respondents had a dedicated home office. Of this total, about half already had a home office prior to the pandemic, while the other half converted another room into an office in the last year. However, an almost equal number of respondents (34%) are clocking in from other rooms in their homes that are not solely dedicated to work — such as kitchens, bedrooms and living rooms — with another 13% working randomly around the house.
Therefore, despite the importance of separating work and home life even when working remotely, many Americans lack a dedicated home office. Even so, 46% of respondents said they were satisfied with their current work-from-home arrangement, while 31% said they felt neutral about it and 23% were dissatisfied.
The survey also asked what respondents considered as must-haves for working from home, as well as which of these requirements they were missing.
Unsurprisingly, a good internet connection was the top requirement for working remotely, which 19% of respondents said they didn’t have access to.
A proper desk and chair were next-most important and, unfortunately, 31% of respondents said their home office setup wasn’t properly outfitted with these. To that end, working from a desk (instead of a living room sofa or a kitchen table) can go a long way in setting boundaries between work and life, as well as help preventing many repetitive strain injuries that can result from long hours of desk time.
Privacy was also important, being picked by 41% of survey-takers. However, 27% of them said they lacked privacy when working from home. Notably, less than a third of respondents said live alone. So, for those sharing their homes with a spouse, parents or roommates, focus time for work can be more difficult to find — especially for those that also don’t have a dedicated workspace at home.
Nearly One-Third of People Plan to Change Home Setup, 58% Want a Larger Home
Meanwhile, nearly one-third of respondents said they planned to make changes to their existing setup for remote work. Of those looking to upgrade, 58% were planning to rent or buy a larger home that could accommodate a home office, and an additional 21% were looking to convert a room into office space. As such, the majority of respondents were planning to focus on actually having a dedicated place to work, whereas the others preferred to invest in better office equipment, furniture or internet connection.
Finally, 6% said they were looking for office space outside their home — which could be a viable alternative, especially in lower-density areas. For example, Phoenix office space for rent is sure to be less crowded than spaces in Manhattan. Plus, social distancing can also be implemented more easily here, thereby providing an alternative to those who don’t have room for an office in their homes.